Booksellers on the Seine : a Parisian institution and an open-air bookshop

Booksellers on the Seine : a Parisian institution and an open-air bookshop

They should be part of a stroll on the quays along the Seine. Booksellers regularly open their green boxes to passers-by and tourists, and are as much a part of the Parisian landscape as the Musée d'Orsay or the Louvre. 

They are a veritable open-air bookshop. Whether you're keen on vintage magazines, old literary works, postcards, photographs, stamps or posters, you'll find what you're looking for, as well as the ideal souvenir to bring back from your stay in the capital. There are some 230 bouquinistes in Paris, enough to delight book lovers. And if you're looking for a particular publication or object, the official website of the bouquinistes de Paris has a large number of references, so you might just be able to find the item you're looking for.

Every day, the famous green boxes that have become a cultural attraction await you along both banks of the Seine : on the left bank between the Quai de la Tournelle and the Quai Voltaire, and on the right bank from the Pont Marie to the Quai du Louvre. Although hawkers had been peddling for centuries, permanent green stalls have officially existed since 1891, when they replaced the traditional wooden crates, and their dimensions are obviously imposed, as is their "wagon green" colour. Baron Haussmann did have the idea of getting them off, but he had nothing to do with the determination of the profession. 

Did you know that? The word "bouquiniste", first used in 1752, obviously derives from the word "bouquin". From the Flemish word "boeckin" meaning "small book" (of little value or esteem and derived from the medieval Dutch "boek" - "book"), the first French "boucquain" was printed in 1459. The spelling "bouquin" was adopted towards the end of the 16th century.


Photos by Amandine Goetz